Jan 02, 2018

Keepers of the Water screens at “Embrace our Rivers,” Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India


Embrace Our Rivers
is a cultural and environmental project producing “DAMnedArt,” a public art and awareness exhibition during February – March, 2018.

The Story of Embrace Our Rivers:

We live in a city that is shaped by water, we share space with this entity that is sacred, neglected, resource and sewage carrier all at once! How can we keep quiet about the water bodies in Chennai? Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Chennai was keen on approaching this vast idea from another perspective, as a cultural institute we saw the need for a layered, transversal approach and above all to create a new dialogue on water in urban spaces. This, in a nutshell is the origin story of Embrace Our Rivers.

“Embracing Our Rivers” – A Note by Helmut Schippert
“Water is what the Greek called a res publica, a re-publican affair. The magnitude of the problems requires politics in a modern democracy to leave behind its prevailing infantile and absurd forms of individualism and to turn instead to collective reflection, discussion and action”

For too long water problems (as climate change) were regarded as a technological and scientific matter. Now with a demand to re-imagine the mere forms of our human existence we have to shift the discussion from these narrow chambers to the wide horizons of culture and society.

Asked by The Hindu what are, in the face of the crisis, the key shifts in water management, the renowned water policy expert Mihir Shah, head of several national reform committees, says: “One, we must take a multidisciplinary view of water. Werequire professionals from disciplines other than just engineering and hydrogeology.Two, we need to adopt the participatory approach to water management that has been successfully tried all over the world…” (The Hindu, August 19, 2016). This quotation puts in a nutshell how the Goethe-Institut Chennai, Germany’s cultural institute, in wonderful cooperation and networking with numerous local, national and international partner institutions, focuses on the topic of “Water, Culture and Society” under the slogan EMBRACE OUR RIVERS. Together we will activate the creative power of ideas, free speech, culture and art in order to serve as catalyst for dialogue, participation and change.

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